Two creatures are put at the starting line of a race through two feet of snow. One is a two legged human; the other is a four legged wolf. Who struggles more in that snow? Who do you think will finish first? Who will have better control, and who is likely to go into a snow bank? This is a good way to explain the difference between a two-wheeled drive vehicle, and a four wheeled drive vehicle. The two-wheeled drive vehicle will work fine in drier environments where excessive rain, snow or ice is rarely expected. Four-wheeled drive vehicles are better for handling such harsh conditions. Another condition for a four-wheeled drive car would be driving through thick sand, mud or wilderness, like while Off-Roding. If you are into this type of sporty driving, then you very well might like a vehicle that can be a part time four-by-four.
When you have a two-by-four vehicle, this term is describing that the control is put only in either the front two wheels or the rear two wheels. It is actually important to consider the differences between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive as well when buying a vehicle, but when weather is concerned, a four-by-four or two-by-four should be the first step towards your consideration.
Expect most four-by-four vehicles to be trucks, and two-by-four vehicles to be cars. It is important to not assume that SUV vehicles have the four-by-four option. This varies on the features provided in certain makes and models. Some come with the option of four-by-four, but most are merely two-by-four drive vehicles. The same applies to mini-vans. Even full sized vans vary on whether or not they are two-by-four or four-by-four.
The pricing is much to consider, as getting a four-by-four may add an extra $3,000 to the price of the vehicle. Most people realize that trucks are generally more expensive than cars in the first place. The four-by-four option is one of the many reasons why a truck is so much more than a car. The same thing applies to SUV’s because they come with the option. Often this fancy feature can go over the price of a truck.
So if you plan on going on road trips where weather conditions change constantly, then your best bet is a four-by four. If you are just going to work and back home again, it may be alright to just go with a two-by-four as long as you are well practiced at handling vehicles in harsher conditions.
Back to that race, though the wolf will have been steady on the road, and faster at getting there because he could get through the resistance faster, the human will eventually push through the two foot of snow. In the end, the two-legged human will reach that finish line and will have made it just as efficiently.